The Diet Basics

Killing Cancer with food

It’s not hard to find diets that claim to fight or prevent cancer.  While they vary in details, one component of all suggested diets is lots and lots of vegetables.  Many diets suggest all vegetables and most will suggest low-fat.  We had been following the Weston Price/Nourishing Traditions diet for a couple of years and we knew that Bryan felt best when he ate meat, so we were not interested in a vegetarian diet, and I felt juice diets would be way too hard for a young man to stick with.  We were happy to find Dr. Cowan, who supports the Weston Price way of eating.  His diet for cancer was different from Sally Fallon’s,  Nourishing Traditions diet, but followed the same principles – eat nutrient dense foods.

The diet that Dr. Cowan recommended for Bryan is a low-carbohydrate, high fat, medium protein diet.  The calories that we eat are 65-80% fat (preferably animal fat), 10-15% protein, 10-15% carbohydrates, with lots of vegetables.  This does not mean that if your plate was a pie chart that 65-85% of the plate is covered with fat.  What it means is that if your calories were a pie chart, 65 -80% of them would be fat calories.  More about this can be found in the article: How do you get 65-80% fat in your diet?

This diet is completely contrary to what has been taught about cancer diets for the last 50 years.  On the other hand, for all of those years, cancer has not decreased, but instead, has actually increased.  Obviously, if we keep doing the same thing and we keep getting the same results; it might be time for a different approach.

The hardest thing about a low carbohydrate diet is that most of the foods that we have come to love and crave are off-limits.  But don’t worry, it is not really as hard as it seems and there are lots of foods to love. Here are the NO – NO foods:

Foods to avoid

  • All sweeteners except stevia (that means no sugars, honey, maple syrup or artificial sweeteners).
  • All grains (wheat, rice, corn, barley, amaranth, quinoa, and many more).
  • Sweet fruits (most apples, peaches, mangos, apricots, and many more).
  • Most milk and cheese (if it’s not cultured, it is not on the diet).
  • Legumes & nuts (except raw, soaked almonds).
  • High carbohydrate vegetables (winter squash, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, beets, parsnips etc).
  • Canned items except coconut milk (we didn’t follow this so one so well).

The diet follows the basic protocol for the GAPS (Gut & Psychology Syndrome) diet by Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride with some changes (she would allow honey, cheese and some of the other NO – NO foods after the initial first few weeks of going without them).

Then what CAN you eat?

It seems like the foods we are most used to eating are all off-limits, so I am often asked, “then what can you eat”?  There are lots of great foods to eat, and you will find recipes for breads, deserts and snacks on this website.  Eating high-fat fills you up (satiates) and tastes great.  It is the easiest “diet” I have ever been on.

Great foods to eat

  • Meats – beef, fish, fowl, shellfish, liver, sweetbreads, heart, kidney, brain and other organ meats.  Bacon and ham are ok, IF they have no nitrates, sulphites or sweeteners.
  • Bone broths (made according to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon).  Ideally, these should be served with each meal.
  • Eggs (eat freely, especially yolks).  OK to have raw yolks (but not raw whites).
  • Bone broths and meat stocks.
  • Stevia (whole (green) is best).
  • Almonds and seeds like flax, sunflower, pumpkin, chia, poppy (raw and soaked or sprouted – except flax & chia don’t soak well).
  • Sour fruits (lemons, limes, berries, sour apples, pineapple, white grapefruit).
  • Fruits we don’t think are fruits such as tomatoes and avocados.
  • Cultured fruits – lacto-fermented chutney (even the off-limits fruit can be eaten this way).
  • Cultured milks (24 hour yogurt, yogurt cheese, kefir).
  • Lots of vegetables raw and cooked, (we especially use cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower).  Summer squash & spaghetti squash are OK.
  • Cultured vegetables – sauerkraut, homemade pickles (radish, turnips, cucumber) made with salt instead of vinegar. Try to have these every meal
  • High quality fats – animal fats (butter, ghee, lard, tallow, duck, bone marrow, cod liver oil, butter oil) and vegetable (coconut oil, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, flax).
  • Homemade condiments: mayonnaise, salad dressing, hollandaise sauce, salsa, pesto, guacamole, ketchup. Mustard can be homemade, or if purchased, should have no sweeteners or additives.
  • Freshly juiced vegetables daily – carrots, beet and greens (1/3 of each).  Although Carrots and Beets are in the NO list, they can be used in this fresh juice.
  • Beverages – herbal teas, spring water, lemonade, ginger drinks (sweetened only with stevia).
  • Cultured drinks (beet kvass, ginger, lemonade, etc) – Nourishing Traditions has lots of recipes.

We are also supposed to try to just have only three meals a day.  Since they have plenty of fat, we are less hungry, but, if we need a snack, we have it.  We don’t count calories – just stick to the diet and make sure to have lots of fat.  That means we put butter on all of our cooked vegetables and any breads.  We cook our foods in lard, butter or tallow.  If we think we are not getting enough fat, we take extra coconut oil.  Sounds sinful, right?  It is sometimes hard to get over the indoctrination we have had for so many years that these are “bad” foods.

Take a look around the site for recipes and articles about the benefits of following a low-carb, high fat diet.

8 responses to “The Diet Basics

  1. I’m amazed as it allows all I’ve been told to avoid. As a breast cancer survivor, I’m wondering if it will help me, too. Do you know if Dr Cowen has success with breast cancer? Thank you

    • Carolyn Miller

      Margie, I believe he has. It is sad that for the 50 years or so that we have been told to avoid fat, both cancer and heart disease has increased. There is a connection there. Sorry I took so long to reply. If you read my latest update in Our Quest, you will see why I have been so slow.

  2. have you heard about dr. bryzynski in texas. He is supposed to have great success with brain tumors.

    • Yes I have. He is in Texas, though (a bit far for us). The fact that Dr Cowan works with us by phone is a big help. Thanks

  3. nancy fairchild

    I do agree with Dr. Cowens diet.Great way to be eating. I suggest adding Tumeric in a class of milk or whatever to shrink tumors.Use freely. Just a suggestion. Great for arthritis.

    • The diet has done so much for us, I can’t say enough good things about it. We do take Curcumin (Tumeric). Bryan takes it 3 times a day. Thanks

  4. So glad the diet is working for your son and family. Dr. Cowan rocks!!! I personally consulted with him on my daughters severe eczema/food intolerances and loved the results……still going strong…..she is almost 2 years old now. God bless!

    • Yes, we are very glad to be working with Dr. Cowan. I am glad to hear your daughter is doing well. Thank you.


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